Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen***

Reading dates: 5 September – 31 December 2014

I know it is somewhat harsh to give 3 stars to such a beloved classic novel but I have to admit that both Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy got on my nerves more than Mrs Bennett did. The heroine is a little wishy washy, boring, not the character of the Brontë’s Jane Eyre or Cathy. It is all about marriage, I thought, about matches rather than about love or fulfilment. And don’t get me started on the others … The only worthy ones of dialogue were the parents and wordy Mr Collins. Jane Austen writes well, though, despite using the word super-excellent (!) once. I had to do a double take. The book is worth reading for her prose.

The book is, I think, better than the TV adaptation as the narrative is better handled (the TV show has it in the wrong order) and it was a pleasure to hear Neil voice the witty words of Mr Bennett with such vivacity. We read the last eight chapters on New Year’s Eve and it made it a memorable one. Still, we were not as enthralled as we were with Mansfield Park or even Persuasion (for we knew nothing of the latter).

We read Pride and Prejudice at the same time as Phillip Larkin’s poems and the conclusion of this experiment in reading is a desire to read poetry to each other more than novels. There is something wonderfully thought provoking about voicing a poem before one dreams.